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Awesome First Snapshot of Earth From Curiosity Rover

This view of the twilight sky and Martian horizon taken by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover includes Earth as the brightest point of light in the night sky. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

The twilight sky and Martian horizon seen by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover include Earth as the brightest point of light.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU

Not much more than just a few pixels on the photo above, that bright dot in the twilight Martian sky is Earth, as seen by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover.

A first view of the rover’s picture of its home planet, taken from the surface of Mars, even shows Earth’s moon.

And while NASA engineers say they have removed the effects of cosmic rays on this released image, any sky-watcher on Mars would clearly be able to make out Earth and its lone natural satellite as seen here, viewing them as two bright ‘evening’ stars in the dusky skies.

The distance between Earth and Mars when Curiosity captured this surreal view some 80 minutes after local sunset on January 31, 2014, was about 99 million miles (160 million kilometers).

The actual first image of Earth taken from the surface of a world beyond the moon, it is worth mentioning, was taken by another Mars invader, NASA’s Spirit rover, which saw Earth from Mars back in 2004.

Sky-watchers can look for Mars rising high in the predawn southern skies this week in the constellation Virgo.  Credit: Starry Night Software -  A.Fazekas

Sky-watchers can look for Mars rising high in the predawn southern skies this week in the constellation Virgo. Credit: Starry Night Software/A. Fazekas

Coincidentally, Earthlings can now look back at Curiosity’s new home and see Mars in our skies too. Look toward the high southern sky before local dawn for a view of the brilliant, ruddy star. Mars will be shining just above Spica, a bright blue-white star in the constellation Virgo.

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, on Twitter,  Facebook, and his website.

Comments

  1. laurence broadus
    washington,dc
    February 12, 4:51 pm

    so whats that other light on the left?

  2. Kevin Gleeson
    Australia
    February 12, 2:21 pm

    How clever is the Human Being..????my mind boggles at our achievements over all other living creatures on the face of this Earth..I wonder if we are meant to be here, we are putting great effort to getting off and going somewhere else …God only knows…

  3. Dinesh dubey
    India
    February 11, 11:25 am

    Increase the curisity in me about the martian.Photo are awesome

  4. Nicholas Pediaditakis
    raleigh nc
    February 9, 6:41 pm

    As I stare at the tiny dot ; I feel Proud for this accomplishment as a human! But I feel humbled for our insignificance in the Cosmos ,and I despair for the inanity of our tribalism !

  5. JimCurran
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    February 8, 10:10 pm

    Response to Dan Molitor.
    Nope – people would still have created their gods.

  6. daniel molitor
    Pasadena, CA
    February 7, 3:51 pm

    One wonders what human culture might have been like if Venus or Mars had had a moon visibly orbiting them in the night sky. Would the idea that the Earth is not the center of the universe taken root right from the start?